Mother Earth Living


Paradise Found: A Green Home in the Florida Keys

A pair of artists and their daughters live and work in a sturdy, passively cooled beach house in the Florida Keys. This truly is paradise.



Imagine living in a house that is part vintage Red Cross emergency housing, part modern pottery studio and fully integrated into—and respectful of—its wild surroundings.
Photos by Bill Sanders
Bright yellow shutters form the outermost layer of hurricane protection for the living/dining room. The panels slide to the sides along with the glass doors, opening wide to expose the living room almost completely to the outdoors. 'Sometimes, when a squall comes up, we feel like we're living on a boat,' says Ron.
Beth and Ron relax on the steps of their oceanfront home.
Ron's handiwork graces the open stairwell of the beach home. The 'lipstick' column (so-called for its color) with its 'bicycle chain' allows ventilation and light to penetrate the stairwell.
Potters Beth Kaminstein and Ron Levy created their own kiln-fired clay beach chairs for surf watching.
The spaceship-like turret is particularly stunning at night.
Breezes are facilitated through Beth and Ron's bedroom with a beachside wall of windows and sliders, high ceilings, and fans. Thin birch panels line the ceiling, giving the room a warm glow.
At home in her studio, Beth creates beautiful pottery inspired by the nature all around her.
The porch, decorated with colorful tiles, overlooks a patio of giant clay seagrape leaves made by the homeowners.
These custom-decorated vents help keep cool breezes flowing through the house, cutting down on moisture accumulation and humidity problems
Standing as sentinel against the evening sky, the corrugated steel stairwell tower connects the home's wings with a breezeway bridge.
Imagine living in a house that is part vintage Red Cross emergency housing, part modern pottery studio and fully integrated into—and respectful of—its wild surroundings.
Imagine living in a house that is part vintage Red Cross emergency housing, part modern pottery studio and fully integrated into—and respectful of—its wild surroundings.
The gardener's harvest of guanabana and carambola sets a luscious and inviting dining table against the beach backdrop.
A bridge provides breezy passage to the second-story bedroom quarters, marked by a blue porthole door in keeping with the nautical theme. Beth and Ron's daughter, Stellar, says there is something 'very mysterious' about the porthole, it whistles in the wind. When she looks through it at night, all she can see are 'creepy shadows of unknown objects.”
Clean, simple lines and whole materials create a cool, fresh kitchen in the original Red Cross House. The stained concrete floor helps keep the home cool.





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